Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Work
He himself did not care what happened at the house during the day. There was no more reason for her to be curious about his work than for him to be concerned with the groceries, laundry, getting the children to school, and whatever else she did. Yet it would seem rude, almost brutal, to drop the pretense and admit that neither particularly cared what the other was doing. A display of interest, however shallow, made life easier.
— Warehouse Workers (@wwunited) November 29, 2013
Attention, disgruntled Walmart employees! What does it mean to say you’re underpaid? Doesn’t it mean that there’s at least one other employer willing to pay you more than you make now?
If that’s the case, go work for another employer. If that’s not the case, then you’re not underpaid. You’re lucky to have the job you have.
My personal favorite is “What would happen if this were not done at all?”
A couple of months ago, the cleaning staff at our office started working during the day, instead of after hours.
Whatever improvements were supposed to accrue from that have evidently not come to pass because starting next month, they’re going back to the night shift.
What I will miss most about having them around during the day is their impeccable sense of timing in closing the men’s room twice a day for cleaning at the precise moments that I urgently need to use it.
If female employment rates matched male rates in the U.S., the GDP would rise by 5%. This stat & more: http://t.co/XsBVJW1xtE
— Harvard Biz Review (@HarvardBiz) August 25, 2013
Okay . . . but who would be raising our kids? Or is that not important?
From an actual job description for a Software Development Manager:
- Worth with management and directs to put together a solid SW Development career development plan in alignment with Organization Solutions all-up to grow hi-potential employees and minimize retention.
If you’re writing job descriptions and learning English at the same time, there’s no shame in having a native speaker review your work.
The job description goes on like that for 10 or 12 more bullet points. I singled that one out because I like the phrase “minimize retention.” I can recommend a couple of people for that.
I assume it’s a language problem in this case — that the author meant to say “maximize retention” or “minimize turnover” — but it might be a kick to have a job where your actual charter is to minimize retention.
You would not be an easy person to work for. You would take all the credit. Your subordinates would get all of the blame.
Picture having the names of all staff members written on a whiteboard in your office and removing them one by one with a triumphant swipe of your eraser at the end of their (hopefully brief) tenure.
Maybe your boss would stop by every now and again to tap on a name and ask, “Why is that guy still here?”
Of course, if some clinging vine is screwing up your retention rate by refusing to quit (maybe he really needs the job?), you can just call him in and fire him. Or her.
Good times! If only all job objectives were this easy to meet.
Thus spoke The Programmer.
East coast woman on conference call is yelling into the phone. Why? To be heard at a distance? HEY HONEY THE PHONE WORKS ELECTRONICALLY YOU DONT HAVE TO YELL!
When I get coffee from the break room, I try to cycle through the creamers — French Vanilla, Hazelnut and the regular Half & Half.
Today I got coffee and I couldn’t remember where I left off in the cycle. I’m in a quandary . . .
Most days I park on Level 5 of the office parking structure because that’s where the open spaces are at the time I arrive.1
This morning I got a spot on Level 1! A guy was pulling out just as I was pulling in and I got the spot.
Unfortunately, when I went out for lunch, I walked up four levels out of habit and couldn’t find my car.
1There are actually a lot of open spaces on lower levels but they’re “reserved” for people who aren’t there, which is rubbish. If you’re really that important, you should be the first person in every morning and you can have any parking space you want.
- Parking: Tips for Finding the Best Space (allstate.com)
Best-educated moms are also more likely to ‘opt out,’ research finds
Opt out of what?
It turns out “opt out” means opt out of the workforce. How is a mom staying home and raising her kids considered “opting out”?
My wife asks how my job is going . . .
“I’m hittin’ home runs like Willie Mays!” I reply. “You know Willie Mays?”
“I’m hittin’ home runs like Mark McGwire!”
“I know Jackie Robinson.”
“Jackie Robinson didn’t hit a lot of home runs.”
I worked with a woman whose last name was Messenger. Every time I saw her I said “Don’t shoot the Messenger.” I never tired of it . . .
unch-and-learn today on Developing a Positive Attitude. Was going to sign up but then thought, “What the heck good would that do?”
A colleague says, “Are you talkin’ to ME?” Oh, and he showed up at work this morning with a shaved head.
[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan -- PE]
Yahoo confirmed Monday that CEO Marissa Mayer gave birth to a boy on Sunday night, only about three months after taking the helm at the struggling company.
The 37-year-old Mayer will work from home and continues to lead the company and “is involved in all critical decisions [sic] making,” a Yahoo spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday.
“She will be working remotely and is planning to return to the office as soon as possible (likely in 1-2 weeks),” Yahoo said in an emailed comment to the news agency.
I applaud young Marissa Mayer for this courageous decision!
She is a role model for all the little girls out there who want to grow up and neglect their children.
Working moms, my precious darlings –
Don’t let anyone tell you that a woman is a better mom if she’s actually home with her kids.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all. You can have it all. Everyone else is doing it. Don’t be left out!
Kids don’t need a lot of attention. They basically raise themselves!
We have a double standard in our society: If you are poor and you abandon your kids you are a bad parent. But if you are rich and you abandon them to run a company, you are profiled in Fortune magazine.
God bless America! Your children are being raised by strangers and nobody cares.
See you all in Hell!
Because of the huge productivity differences between good programmers and bad programmers — 10x? 28x? More? — my biggest leverage point as a development manager is my ability to hire people.
At my last job, we had an HR Director named Lucy. In every one of our annual Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Lucy’s group had the lowest scores in the entire organization. Nobody liked or respected her.
She was, however, close with the CEO, which made that irrelevant.
Lucy’s friend Kathy Slauson runs the Slauson and Slauson recruiting agency, so that’s where we got our programming candidates, who were mostly terrible.
The Slauson agency doesn’t specialize in IT candidates, although they do have a “technical recruiter,” who unfortunately knows nothing about technology.
They don’t bring candidates in for in-person interviews. They take whatever candidates give them in the form of a résumé and they pass the résumés along to clients like me in hopes of being paid a fee.
- Candidates send résumés to Slauson.
- Slauson sends them to me.
What value does this add over candidates sending résumés directly to me? None.
Slauson doesn’t qualify candidates. They don’t map abilities and skills against the requirements of a position. They add no value to the process, and I had to screen all the résumés myself, the same as if I’d just bought them from a job board.
When I saw that Slauson was just going to throw résumés at me, I asked them to please add a short write-up, indicating why they thought each candidate was a good fit for the job.
What I got was write-ups like “Candidate is good with Technology X,” where Technology X is something I indicated as a job requirement.
When I asked “How did you assess that the candidate is good with Technology X?” they would tell me “We asked him.” Or “It’s on his résumé.”
In other words, “Candidate is good with Technology X” meant “Candidate states that he’s good with Technology X. Unverified.”
(If you’re wondering at this point why an HR department would funnel good money to a recruiting agency for doing nothing, go back and reread the part where I mention that Kathy Slauson is a personal friend of Lucy the HR Director.)
I said earlier that Slauson has a “technical recruiter.” She was in the office one afternoon and handed me a résumé.
“He doesn’t look like an ASP.NET programmer,” I said after looking it over, “which is what we’re looking for. For example, I don’t see any C# experience.”
“It’s right here,” she said, pointing at the résumé where it said this: C++.
If you’re not a programmer, you might say, well, easy mistake to make. C# (pronounced C-sharp, like a musical note) and C++ (pronounced C-plus-plus) are both programming languages containing the letter C followed by one or more symbols.
But whereas C# is the primary programming language for web development on the Microsoft platform, C++ is a lower-level language used for system development. Nobody does web development in C++.
Not surprisingly, a high percentage of Slauson’s candidates bit the dust in the initial phone screen with me, because the phone screen was their first encounter with someone whose programming knowledge was non-zero and could possibly tell a good programmer from a bad programmer.
According to Kathy Slauson, that was totally unacceptable. She thought that because she had an in with the HR department, we should be hiring every candidate she sent over, qualified or not, and paying her for the privilege, which is the way it worked before I arrived on the scene and screwed up the process.
She was always very polite to me in person, assuring me that she was doing her best to improve the quality of candidates, but behind the scenes, she was telling Lucy the HR Director that I shouldn’t be allowed to interview candidates anymore.
(That information was never supposed to reach me but it did.)
Think about that: we had a recruiter telling our HR Director that a manager shouldn’t be allowed to interview their candidates. (The fact that I no longer work there tells you which side of the issue Lucy came down on.)
Kathy also told Lucy that the candidates I was rejecting were perfectly good candidates because after I turned them down, they were being hired at other companies.
Of course they were being hired at other companies. They were being hired by companies with lower hiring standards for programmers. The best thing that could happen with some of those candidates is for them to be hired by competing organizations.
Do you think Amazon or Google worry that candidates they turn down get hired somewhere else?
(No, I wasn’t trying to match hiring standards with Amazon or Google. I’m just saying that it wasn’t my goal to be the employer of last resort, or to be able to say, “If we don’t hire ‘em, nobody’s gonna hire ‘em!”)
Everyone I hired was an order of magnitude improvement over the people they replaced.
I like to work with talented people. I’m not trying to get rich and I don’t have a career path. I’m trying to learn and get better and contribute to my profession.
If you give me a job where I’m responsible for hiring people, I’m going to hire the best people available, and decline to be force-fed unqualified candidates by a friend of the HR Director.
To be continued . . .